Eight years ago, a group of eight high schoolers in central Japan attached a smartphone equipped with two cameras and a GPS to a weather balloon and let it go. It went up and up and… disappeared. In November this year, the cameras were found in the woods near Tokyo, revealing their 32-kilometer trip into the stratosphere and the blue curve of Earth against the blackness of space.
At around the 1,000-meter altitude mark, the students lost the balloon’s signal, so they had no idea where it was, or would be when the balloon popped. They calculated that the smartphone may have ended up somewhere around Iimori ridge in the town of Tokigawa, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo. However, they could not find the apparatus, and went on to graduate thinking it was lost.